Simpson Thacher & Bartlett has delayed plans to launch an office in Sao Paulo and has scaled back the number of partners and associates being sent to its Latin American outpost.
Last year, The Lawyer exclusively revealed that the US firm had finalised plans to launch an office in Brazil to focus on capital markets, M&A and project finance.
A start date of September 2008 had been pencilled in, with New York-based partners Jaime Mercado and Todd Crider spearheading the initiative (9 June 2008).
Now it has emerged that the launch plans have been delayed due to lease complications while associate numbers on the ground have been reduced from five to three. The firm is currently residing in temporary office space in Sao Paulo. Despite market speculation, the firm has denied that the economic downturn has had any impact on its plans.
Crider told The Lawyer: “Work is much slower everywhere but, to be honest, it has allowed me to find somewhere that is appropriate. We have been actively looking at premises for some months. There were some complications and in many cases the property just wasn’t right for us.”
Despite the setback, Crider insists the official Sao Paulo office launch will go ahead later this year.
Last year, The Lawyer reported that Skadden had lost its sole Sao Paulo partner, Jonathan Bisgaier, to Brazilian investment firm, Banking and Trading Group (11 December 2008).